4 breath hold exercises to boost your underwater time

Just like hitting the gym is a cornerstone to improving your muscular capacity, the same can be applied to underwater confidence.  Training your body to endure the rigors of oxygen deprivation and Co2 tolerance is just as important as other forms of training while prepping for selection.  And just like utilizing different exercises to train the same muscle groups, there is more than one way to train for underwater exercises.  We don’t need to limit ourselves to doing endless 25m underwaters to improve our capacity– in fact I would disapprove of this method. There are two physiological factors at play when attempting to increase your breath hold capability: O2 deprivation and Co2 tolerance.  Your urgency to pop during underwater activities is largely attributed to the buildup of Co2 in your body- not the lack of oxygen (although lack of O2 is still a factor- just not the primary one).  That’s why I suggest you apply more focus to the Co2 tolerance tables below rather than the O2. -Static Tables are breathing exercises meant to be done while sitting still; in a rest position.  What’s great about these is you can do them almost anywhere.  (DO NOT ATTEMPT THESE TABLES WHILE DRIVING!) -Dynamic Tables are while you are in motion.  This could be while doing underwaters, walking, sprinting or performing any other motion that depletes your breath hold capacity quicker than while at rest. The tables below can be modified!  Adjust the times up or down to meet your performance level.  You can also mix it up by attempting 100m breath hold sprints on a track, etc.  The purpose is to have fun with these while increasing your breath hold capacity. These should be challenging, so push yourself and you will get better overnight.  Do not expect overnight results.  This, along with any other exercise program, takes time to see results. Static Co2 Tolerance Table (3-4x per week): Above water, not moving breath holds (ie: sitting in a chair or lying down) Breathe           Hold [spp-timestamp time="2:30"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="2:15"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="1:45"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="1:30"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="1:15"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="1:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="1:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="1:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"]   Static O2 Deprivation Table (1-2x per week): Above water, not moving breath holds (ie: sitting in a chair or lying down) Breathe           Hold [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  :40 [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  :50 [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:10"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:20"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:30"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:40"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:50"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="2:00"] Dynamic Co2 Deprivation Table: -Perform 25m underwater with no fins and rest on the opposite side (do not freestyle back to the starting point).  This  table can also be accomplished on land by walking 30 seconds instead of the underwater. 25m underwater      [spp-timestamp time="1:30"] rest 25m underwater      [spp-timestamp time="1:20"] rest 25m underwater      [spp-timestamp time="1:10"] rest 25m underwater      [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] rest 25m underwater        :50 rest 25m underwater        :40 rest 25m underwater        :30 rest 25m underwater Static Single Breath Hold Repetitions: This Co2 tolerance exercise is a substitute for the co2 table above if you are short on time. -Take one exhalation/inhalation every :45 seconds for [spp-timestamp time="6:00"]. (Example: Inhale and breath hold, start the clock.  At :45 exhale your breath, take one inhale and continue to hold.  Repeat at [spp-timestamp time="1:30"], [spp-timestamp time="2:15"], [spp-timestamp time="2:30"], etc)

Read more

How to DOUBLE your breath hold in 15 minutes

I’ve tried this myself and validated this technique with the core group of guys I work with at the pool. I’ve seen guys’ breath hold go from an initial :45-[spp-timestamp time="1:15"] to [spp-timestamp time="2:40"]-[spp-timestamp time="3:28"] utilizing the below technique. First, some key information: -Deep Breathing: “Deep breathing” involves taking a big breath in through the mouth, holding for one second, and then exhaling for 10 seconds through your mouth through your almost-closed mouth with tongue pressed against your lower teeth. It should be a hissing exhalation and make a “tsssssss…” sound. All breathing and exercises are performed though the mouth. -Purging: “Purging” involves a strong exhalation as if you were trying to blow a toy sailboat across a pool, followed by a big but faster inhalation. Cheeks puffed out as you do the exhalation (imagine the big bad wolf blowing the pigs’ homes down). Be careful not to heave or rock back and forth, which wastes oxygen. Keep as still as possible. -Success Tips: 1) Find a comfortable chair free of distractions. 2) Do not move around while performing this test to keep your heart rate as low as possible.  This includes moving your hands & arms or shrugging your shoulders when inhaling.  Any movement, no matter how small, increases heart rate. 3) Make a conscious effort on your breath hold to inhale and fill your lungs fully.  Concentrate on slowly filling your stomach, then your lower chest, then upper chest, then your trachea and then your throat and mouth.  Maximize the airspace available to you. 4) Distract yourself while holding your breath.  Recount your favorite movie in your head or associate each letter of the alphabet with a name of someone you know. ALRIGHT, NOW FOR THE TEST. DISCLAIMER: THIS IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. DO NOT ATTEMPT IN WATER! Sitting still, do a baseline breath hold and record your time. Then perform: [spp-timestamp time="1:30"] deep breathing, then [spp-timestamp time="1:15"] purging (if you feel like you’re going to pass out, do it less intensely) Hold breath for target [spp-timestamp time="1:30"], no more After your [spp-timestamp time="1:30"] breath hold: Take 3 large recovery breaths, [spp-timestamp time="1:30"] deep breathing, [spp-timestamp time="1:30"] purging, Hold breath for target [spp-timestamp time="2:30"], no more After your [spp-timestamp time="2:30"] breath hold: Take 3 large recovery breaths, [spp-timestamp time="2:00"] deep breathing, [spp-timestamp time="1:45"] purging, Hold breath for as long as possible & record your initial and final times in the comments box.  (FYI, Harry Houdini’s life-time record is [spp-timestamp time="3:30"]).

Read more

The Ultimate 7 Must-Haves for Water Con Training

While some suitable substitutes are, well…suitable, sometimes it is absolutely essential to duplicate the exact gear used at selection.  In this write-up, I have done the research and found the 7 critical pieces of equipment that you need to train with to be successful inside the pool while at PJ Indoc, CCT assessment, Phase 2 assessments & Dive School.  All of the pieces have equal value: you must be well-rounded to be successful at selection.  You could be a stud at underwaters, buddy breathing, mask/snorkel recovery, one man comp, etc etc, but if you can’t handle a weight belt on your hips, you will fail just as easily as someone who struggles in any other event. I have scoured the internet to find the best prices for you and have provided affiliate links below (all on amazon). 1) The dive mask used for Air Force selection courses is massive.  It is important to train on this:  Single Lens Dive Mask to get used to the amount of air it takes to clear this behemoth.  There are small nuances to this mask that you must get used to such as how to properly trace the head strap & feeling where the nose cup is underwater so you don’t put the mask on upside down (this happens ALL the time to the untrained). 2) Grabbing the right snorkel is critical for buddy breathing.  Ensure you get either the:  Snorkel – J-Tube  or J Tube Snorkel Clear Mouth as getting intimately familiar with this snorkel will help you succeed when you are under full harassment.  This snorkel takes a bit more air to clear than other snorkels due to its larger than normal lower mouth piece section.  You may have an adjustment period with the bite blocks and upper mouth piece as well I’ve seen guys struggle to establish a seal quickly while in the pool. 3) Finning with stiff Rocket style fins is an experience that cannot be duplicated with substitution.  Your legs and feet will need to experience the suck of fin swimming with these:  IST Rocket Fins for Military Special Ops, L prior to going to selection.  The force that is put on your legs is critical to experience  as well as learning the skills of ditch and don with these type of straps will help you be ready for when its time to perform.  Expect calf, foot and hamstring cramps when ramping up training with these fins. 4) At selection, booties aren’t just used for finning.  An easy way to make underwaters (or any pool event) more challenging is by slapping on these:  Black Zippered Dive Bootie and watch yourself struggle.  These booties are a perfect fit for the IST Fins mentioned above. 5) There have been many of candidates who could fin great, but once that: Weight Belt, Black went on for the first time, their eyes would get big and they’d mercilessly sink to the bottom.  Don’t be that guy that struggles with a weight belt when it comes time to put in on when it counts.  This belt also has a clasp that can be difficult to manage while performing ditch & dons. WARNING: Do not perform weight belt swims in the deep end without a buddy!  Always ensure you have the belt setup so it will release with your right hand 6) A weight belt is useless without weights.  Grab 4 of these: Uncoated Lace Thru Style Hard Weights, 4Pounds to get 16 lbs total.  When starting, I recommend going with 8 lbs and working up to 16.  There is a particular way to place these on the belt that unless you’ve been to selection before, you won’t know the nuances– if you are unsure, ask in the specialtactics.com forums here. 7) Underwater knot tying is a skill that takes finesse and repetitiveness to master.  Use this:  7mm Accessory Cord to learn the square knot, inside bowline, girth hitch w/ an extra turn and the single fisherman’s knot.  TIP: Grab the 20′ or 30′ length and cut out two equal pieces of 36″ each.  Use the rest of the rope as your line that you will tie your knot around. Happy Swimming, SW

Read more

How to Do a 50m Underwater

From the PJ Pool Wizard Series: How to accomplish the 50m underwater. No analyzing in this video, just a solid view of how its done well. Note there is no panicking near the end- usually indicated by faster strokes or looking up to see where the end is (like most 50m attempts), his stroke and stroke count remains efficient throughout, and he finishes calmly with air to spare

Read more